Friday, 27 September 2013

Miss Representation

Age Discrimination

Earlier on in the month I attended a screening hosted by UN Women,  KPMG Network of Women (KNOW) and the International Women’s Forum (IWF) from the award winning Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s film Miss Representation which highlighted the dire issues of inequality of women in USA. Key points that were alarming were girls and women with eating disorders, the limited amount of women that are protagonists in films, and few women directors or writers. What stood out for me were the remarks on women and ageing, exemplifying that woman at a certain age are marginalized and fade into the background, because of age discrimination.

Last Friday Miss World for Muslims took place and critiques remarked that it is no different from other beauty pageants being that all the women contending were young and beautiful, whereas the show intended to parade a woman’s piety and religious knowledge. It would seem that regardless of culture and religion women gain attention from their youth and appearance rather than their inner beauty, strengths and talents. In retrospect these competitions can be beneficial to participants and platform women to showcase deeper qualities. I was persuaded to enter a Miss West Africa in my hay day, the beauty of this completion was that it did not include swimwear; mothers and daughters together were entered with no age limits, and contests paraded in their native attire as well as a round of everyday wear with a chance to express your talents and ambitions. I was convinced to participate and accepted in order to have fun and network, thus from contending it enabled me a unique opportunity as I was offered a media employment.

At a social event last weekend I was asked my age by a pursuer, and I told him, as I did so his friend said that I wouldn't say my age, and I added that there isn't any reason not to, other than data protection or keeping personal details private I couldn't see why I shouldn't. It brought about a discussion on age and women, where many women agreed that they are judged by their age and men are not. I feel strongly that we need to be respected whatever our age, as with age comes wisdom, the more years the wealth of experience, therefore we shouldn't be misrepresented and fading into the background but taking central positions. Age is but a number however, it is how you feel. I am young, yet I am middle aged.


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